Boardroom Socks Review: US Made Over the Calf Socks for MenDisclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received compensation and courtesy product from Boardroom Socks in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. What's this?
Steeped in rich tradition and made in America, Boardroom Socks offer fine knit socks that are perfect for office attire and formal wear. The brand isn’t distracted by loud colors or current trends: instead, they’ve focused on crafting an over-the-calf sock that’s comfortable, durable, and stays up throughout the day.
I can thank my uncle for any knowledge I have of formal-wear.
I see him once or twice a year, usually for weddings, funerals, and other family get-togethers.
And every time, he teaches me something new. This past year, he taught me that every man needs a handkerchief, and that a pocket square doesn’t count. His exact words were, “Do you expect a woman to dry her eyes with silk? Nonsense. She needs cotton—the good stuff.”
But one sartorial lesson he doled out has stuck with me over the years.
I was 14, and we were going to a cousin’s wedding. He looked at my socks and started shaking his head.
Sure, they were black. But, “Crew socks? How could you wear crew socks to a wedding?”
I had no idea.
He took his shoes off outside the wedding venue, removed his socks, and gave them to me.
As a 14 year old, I remember thinking it was weird. Now, I realize it’s hilarious. But there was a bigger message—not all socks are created equal. And socks are as important to a formal ensemble as a tie or pocket square.
So when choosing the right socks, you need to know they will look good and won’t fall down in the middle of the day.
Recently, Boardroom Socks reached out to me—a fellow North Carolinian—to see if I’d like to check out some of their dress socks.
I jumped at the chance—not just to give the brand a try, but to also send a pair to repay my uncle.
What is Boardroom Socks?
Boardroom Socks was founded in 2010, but their history goes back much farther.
In 1837, the James family founded their first textile-mill in rural North Carolina. Through the years, the family weaved and bobbed, rolled with the punches, adapting to worldwide fashion trends.
But in the ‘90s and early 2000s, American textile production tanked.
A quick drive through any city in North Carolina is a testament to that fact. Think about the most iconic American fashion piece: the blue jean.
The Cone Denim White Oak plant in Greensboro, NC was the exclusive fabric producer for Levi denim. And this stuff spread throughout the world, with people in the USSR paying entire month salaries just to get a pair of blue jeans.
Just a few weeks ago, I went to check on the White Oak plant.
This trend isn’t just happening in North Carolina, but across the United States.
Some people, like the James family, are committed to bringing production back stateside. Maybe textile production will never be on the same scale it used to be, but that’s not stopping brands like Boardroom Socks from trying.
The brand crafts dress socks made from Merino wool and Pima cotton, all in North Carolina, close to the original James’ family mill built in 1837.
I put Boardroom Socks to the test, even timing how long the over the calf socks stayed up throughout my day.
So how’d they hold up? Is going American-made worth it? Let’s dive in.
Why Choose Over the Calf Socks?
Over the calf socks solve a common problem.
Dress socks are thin. In some brands, there just isn’t enough grip to stay hiked up throughout the day. What ends up happening is this:
People may not notice when you’re walking through the street, but what happens when you take a seat?
Would you want to see that? There’s no need to offend people the way I just offended you—showing off my pale hairy leg. No one wants to see that (I’m sorry, but sometimes causing pain is the best way to get a point across).
Over the calf socks are built with more elastic fibers around and above the calf, meaning you don’t have to bend over and pull them up during the day (which can cause your shirt to come untucked—a whole different disaster).
But just because it’s an over the calf sock doesn’t mean it will stay up. A low-quality sock will scrunch down no matter how long it is.
Switching from Gold Toe?
Gold Toe socks were long hailed as the go-to for business professionals looking for simple dress socks. You can find them everywhere. And still for a lot of guys, they assume Gold Toe is the standard for how dress socks should look and feel.
But a lot of guys have been noticing a trend: Gold Toe socks just aren’t cutting it in the professional world. They fall down after a few hours, the elastic goes full-bacon after a few washes, and the stitching quality isn’t what it used to be.
We can’t say for sure why there’s been a change in recent years, but it may be due to their increasing reliance on Chinese factories and cut-rate labor to fulfill their orders.
Many of the reviews on the Boardroom Socks website specifically mention how making the switch from Gold Toe was a great choice.
Match Your Sock To Your Trousers, Not Your Shoe
Before we get into the details of Boardroom Socks, I just wanted to take a moment and discuss how to match your socks.
First, and most importantly—match your socks to your trousers, not your shoe.
Leather has a distinction all of its own, so a slight color mismatch is forgivable. But sock fabric and trousers often have a similar texture (from a distance, anyway), so it’s important that the colors play well together.
If you’re wearing navy trousers, any shade of blue sock will look great. Matching a black sock with black pants is always a solid choice, and a necessary one for black-tie events.
And just like how your tie can throw in a complementary color, your socks can, too.
So even though these Boardroom Socks have pink polka-dots on them, the charcoal still matches the black trouser and makes for an excellent combo. And the ensemble looks great with any formal shoe I pair with it.
Boardroom Socks Unboxing & Review
As I mentioned above, Boardroom Socks specializes in professional and formal socks. They work with two fabrics: Merino wool and Pima cotton. And they have two lengths: over the calf, and mid-calf (with a limited selection of big and tall sizes).
Even with just a few styles, they have a large array of colors and patterns to choose from.
They have all the classic solids you’d expect from dress socks—black, olive, khaki, navy, etc. While I wouldn’t say that Boardroom is a trend-chasing brand, they’ve also thrown in a few designs that are more playful and fun, like the polka dot socks.
Merino Wool Socks
For professional and formalwear, Merino wool socks are the gold standard.
They allow for more breathability and manage moisture much better than cotton. They’re excellent in both warm and cool weather.
Boardroom’s Merino socks are in a classic ribbed style, which makes them more flexible. They adapt well to my foot, so even though there were only two size options, these felt fantastic.
Pima Cotton Socks
The Pima cotton is incredibly soft. Now, living in North Carolina, the summers can get pretty warm. Having a pair of cotton socks will be great keeping my feet cooler through the hot months.
The cotton is grown in the US, so the finished product is a full home-grown item, and the quality is apparent when you pick up a pair of these socks.
Both styles are made with 168 needle construction, which is an excellent balance between soft and durable. Some higher-end formal socks have 200-needle construction, which is even softer, but not practical in my opinion because they get holes much quicker.
Over the years I’ve learned how to extend the life of my socks, but I still end up absolutely destroying them. Seriously, it used to make my mom angry. She’d buy me a whole pack and within two months they’d all have holes. It’s a special power I have and I’m unashamed.
(If this sounds like you too, try this: clip your toenails once a week and use a pumice stone or other abrasive tool to soften your heels. You won’t have to buy new socks every few months.)
Over the Calf and Mid-Calf Socks
Both fabrics are used in Boardroom’s two main sock styles: over the calf, and mid-calf.
Over the calf socks are a crucial part of a formal and professional wardrobe. Some guys wear sock garters which are unnecessary (if you buy quality socks) and uncomfortable.
With both styles, a small amount of Spandex is woven in at the top of the calf so they hold tight without too much compression.
I felt the brand nailed the balance.
I timed how long my over the calf socks stayed up two days in a row, putting them on at 8am on Monday and Tuesday. The first day, my sock stayed hiked for 14 hours, and the second day went for 12 hours.
So staying on the safe side, these socks will easily last through your full workday or any formal event you’re going to.